Defense Asks to Bar Potential Witness in Koschman Case

By Carol Marin, Don Moseley, Tim Novak and Chris Fusco
|  Thursday, Dec 5, 2013  |  Updated 10:35 PM CDT
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Attorneys for R.J. Vanecko are seeking to prevent a former Chicago police department attorney from testifying in Vanecko's involuntary manslaughter trial. The charge stems from a 2004 altercation resulting in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman.

Attorneys for R.J. Vanecko are seeking to prevent a former Chicago police department attorney from testifying in Vanecko's involuntary manslaughter trial. The charge stems from a 2004 altercation resulting in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman.

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Attorneys for R.J. Vanecko are seeking to prevent a former Chicago police department attorney from testifying in Vanecko's involuntary manslaughter trial. The charge stems from a 2004 altercation resulting in the death of 21-year-old David Koschman.

At that time, Thomas Epach was legal counsel and executive assistant to Police Superintendent Phil Cline. Prior to that Epach was a top prosecutor in high-profile cases in both the Cook County and DuPage County State's Attorney's offices.

In a recently filed motion, Vanecko's legal team asked "bar" or prevent the "testimony of Thomas Epach, who worked for CPD .. and claimed to have pushed for charges, and offered criticisms" of the State's Attorney's office.

Epach, who was interviewed by Webb, is the only named individual the defense wants to bar.

"I don't have any recollection of Tom Epach contacting me to push for charges in the case," said Richard Devine, who was Cook County State's Attorney in 2004.

No charges were filed by police or prosecutors in the death of David Koschman in 2004 or in a 2011 re-investigation.

Vanecko is accused of throwing a single punch that led to the death of the 21 year old following an argument on Division Street.

Vanecko, the nephew of former mayor Richard Daley, was indicted a year ago, after Dan Webb was appointed as special prosecutor.

The defense also wants to prevent any mention of a missing Cook County State's Attorney's file and "the disappearance/reappearance of police files at Area 3 in 2011."

Epach, citing the secrecy of the grand jury, declined comment.

Judge Maureen McIntyre, who is hearing the case, will rule on the defense motion.

R.J. Vanecko has entered a plea of not guilty. His trial is set for Feb. 18.

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